9Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. 10Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
What strikes me about this little dialogue is the direction Jesus gives to the disciples to return to where it all began. Jesus asks the two Mary’s to go and tell the disciples that they will see him Galilee. The angel had already said that this was the plan that Jesus was going ahead of them to Galilee.
It does seem a little odd that the resurrected Jesus would want to go back to the beginning and not to move forward into new places and new territories. A worldly leader would have used this amazing return as the opportunity for an assault on power and control. No politician worth their salt would take a step backward when he or she held the element of surprise.
Surely Jesus would want himself and his team to capitalise of the element of surprise his return would bring, surely a resurrected Jesus would attract the crowds and see a massive upward movement in the popularity polls? Surely Jerusalem would have been a better place to go and be seen? Surely there the kingdom of God project would get some traction and bring out about justice, freedom and healing that was so desperately needed?
No, they are to go to Galilee and begin again without a leader to grab the limelight and give them the upper hand. The campaign begins again, this time it is not about an incarnate Christ but a Christ incarnate in the disciples. The emphasis shifts from the Son of God to those empowered by the Cosmic Christ, the spirit of the Son of God. The disciples are to be themselves by being empowered by the spirit of God and to live out Christ in their own lives.
This is a powerful message. This is no longer about the physical presence of God changing lives and challenging authority, this will be about the ordinary men and women from Galilee standing up and taking responsibility. They return to Galilee for the transition of authority and responsibility, for Jesus to hand over the reins of the kingdom to ordinary men wand women now empowered by the resurrection Spirit.
We all have to return to the beginning at some point in our lives be it our faith lives or ordinary lives, to go back to where we first commenced our journey and take the time to recalibrate our compass to ensure we are in touch with the Source of all being. Galilee was the place where they first encountered the Source of Life and it is where Jesus takes them as they begin the second half of their journey.
There is an ad on TV which says, If I only knew then what I know now. Returning to the place where we started our journey allows us space for a new perspective on our life, our achievements and our troubles. It allows us to put down our roots once again and to step forward with a sense of confidence and hope.
After the time spent in hidden spaces fearful of the response of the authorities after Jesus death, the disciples have returned to the familiar, in place, in faces and the in activity. They regrouped and rediscovered what drove them to go with Jesus in the first place.
They rediscovered their first love and Jesus allows them the grace to do so, the opportunity to grieve his physical loss and to gain the fervour of their first love reborn. It is this love that takes them on through Pentecost to plant the church in a world that had crucified the Christ. The scenes we see at Galilee reflect the scenes they experienced of Jesus when he first called him – fishing, sharing a fish barbecue and stepping forward to follow Jesus by leaving their boats behind. This time they do it out of an experiential love of the truth he shared with them, the truth he became to them and the truth he implanted in them through the Spirit. This time they go not blindly and without knowing, but open eyed and knowing what is possible.
When we first discover faith when we are young we want it all. We want to change the world, to tell everyone what we have found and to grab it all for ourselves. As we grow older and stuff happens we may become jaded and disillusioned by others and by our expectations of God – our fish love begins to take over. At some point in our lives we begin to discover wisdom not knowledge, stillness not activity and we begin to return to first love, albeit very differently than the first time.
It is in these mature and often later years of our lives that we begin to live lives of faith, hope and love based on experience and grace, not energy and enthusiasm of which there was plenty of the first time around for the disciples. Now they and we begin to relax into the presence of the Christ through the Spirit
And trust that all indeed will be well no matter how dark it may seem.
On this Easter Day we, you and I, may be being called back to Galilee, back to those first experiences of faith, hope and love in the being of Jesus the Christ and being asked to begin again, but this time with greater mindfulness and focus on the presence of the Source, the Spirit in our personal life and the life of the whole creation. Maybe this glorious, day is the day we begin again without the angst of unknowing and of the expectation of success, only to rest in the knowledge that we are not alone and all things are possible.